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Driven Students: They Have Time for Lunch?

"They Want to Eat Your Lunch" (In Depth, May 26), our story on a new breed of business-minded liberal arts undergrads, provoked a multigenerational—and multi-faceted—response. Some readers admired the ambition (and identified with the angst) of the students, who create elite "business clubs" to get a leg up in the job market. Others bemoaned the trend, warning that the unswerving focus on success will ultimately shortchange these kids by stealing the best years of their lives. A few even deemed the trend harmful to the economy. "We need innovators and nonconformists," one reader wrote, not "human calculators."—Aili McConnon and Jessica Silver-Greenberg

College is an opportunity to discover one's interests. Students who focus only on the job-search aspect of education will be intellectually poorer (and ultimately less attractive to smart employers) for having done so.

Screen name: Nathan

The article was fascinating—and sad. [What it describes] is the setting up of an entire generation of intelligent people for withering midlife crises.

Screen name: Dave M May

As a student attending a small, prestigious East Coast liberal arts college, and as a member of its only investment club on campus—run by students who manage a $100,000 chunk of our school's endowment—I believe these clubs can provide a very positive supplement to a liberal arts education. [But] students [must be able] to keep their perspective and keep it educational. The hypercompetitive thing—where only the "best and brightest" are allowed into the clubs, and where students are forced to sacrifice other intellectual pursuits—defeats the purpose.

Screen name: Granola Cruncher

I have heard some of these young folks speak. They are very bright, have a handle on research, can transform data into usable information, and are able to make sound decisions. Congrats to these young and bright people.

Screen name: Chris George

If these clubs are indicative of a wider trend, I find it troubling. But I admire the drive and intensity of such students, especially fellow minorities who are fighting to make up for the lack of personal connections afforded their more affluent peers.

Screen name: Tino

I am concerned about the ramifications of this new undergraduate "elite" for American business. The implication is that the only businesses attracting young talent are hedge funds, investment management, and consulting. Does nobody strive to lead a "real" business any longer?

Elijah White

WELLESLEY, MASS.

These new "ultra-prepared" business elites are so focused that instead of being prepared, they are likely simply to become prisoners of their tragically insular little world of select societies.

Kip Dellinger

LOS ANGELES

It's funny how the goal of mindlessly climbing the corporate ladder has returned. Stories like these make me fear for the future of our country. I only hope these students represent a very small sliver of their generation. Now more than ever, we need innovators and nonconformists rather than human calculators. (Human calculators get outsourced.)

Screen name: Steven L. May

GENERAL MOTORS

The Trouble with Going Green

Lack of foresight has crippled General Motors, as your article shows. But touting the convenience of plugging your car into your outlet at home has consequences as well.

Imagine if just half of your neighbors plug in their cars when they get home from work. What happens to the electrical grid? We live in a time when power is becoming scarce and expensive. Where is the foresight in this?

James Fire

SALT LAKE CITY

General Motors (GM) could really become a leader in the hybrid/green car market ("GM: "Live Green or Die," In Depth, May 26). How? Through making their cars 100% sustainable by reinventing how they manufacture the materials used on the interior and exterior of their cars.

If these materials were developed to be reused after their first life is over (presumably after the car has hit 200,000 miles), GM would be helping to mitigate another major environmental problem: the buildup of trash in landfills.

Stephen Elmer

ARLINGTON, VA.

Assume a person buys a Chevrolet Volt in November, 2010. This person begins using the car to commute to work 20 miles per day, total. Let's also imagine the car is driven less than 40 miles per day. Each night, after its use, the vehicle is plugged into the home power source for recharging.

In other words, this vehicle runs on electricity, never using its gasoline engine.

What happens if the owner decides to use this car for a long-distance vacation the next summer?

The gas has been sitting in the tank since the previous November. And the gasoline engine has never been operated.

Lawrence Bulk

MULLICA HILL, N.J.

How to Make Sure Doctors Disclose All

Why isn't there a law requiring authors of studies in medical journals to state in writing whether they have a potential conflict of interest ("What the Doctors Aren't Disclosing" News, May 26)? Misrepresentation would then be fraud. I suspect you'd see a lot more disclosure if the deterrent of a criminal penalty were available.

Harry Kirsch

SAN FRANCISCO

Steve Ballmer's Window of Opportunity

Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer vows to speed up development of the next version of Windows ("Big Business Starts to Sour on Vista," What's Next, May 26). But how much time does he have? Itchy customers will decide.

Malcolm Ross

ANNANDALE, VA.

Collaboration with Physicians Is Crucial

We are concerned that readers of "The Doctor vs. Device Makers" (What's Next, May 19) might not understand the important role played by the ethical and appropriate collaboration between physicians and medical-device makers in the creation of innovative health-care technologies.

Physicians provide manufacturers with a unique hands-on perspective on what works best in the clinical setting. Device makers provide education and training so physicians are equipped to use the latest technologies safely and effectively. These interactions ultimately benefit patients.

Stephen Ubl

President and CEO

Advanced Medical Technology Assn.

WASHINGTON

Scary Run on Rice? Just Wait Till the Oil Crunch

The rice panic is just a dress rehearsal for what will happen with oil if we don't wean ourselves off it ("What Spurred the Run on Rice" News, May 12). And unfortunately the answer is not as simple as saying, to paraphrase Marie Antoinette: "Let them eat pasta."

Karen Ann DeLuca

ALEXANDRIA, VA.


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